The photo is from 1978. My son, his truck. Behind him, my truck.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Wall Whisperer

Saturday, November 9, 1996

Running electric cable through wall cavities from an upstairs bedroom, I had to saw two small holes in the vast ceiling of a McMansion living room.  If I was slightly off in my positioning, if the wire wasn't waiting where I cut the ceiling, I'd have to enlarge the hole.  Which would be bad. 

Sometimes everything goes perfectly.  The wires were exactly at the cut.  Twice.  Minimal work, minimal patching required. 

The client was watching me, amazed.  "Dead on!" he shouted.  He was a banker, but he seemed like a pretty decent guy.  "How'd you know it would be right there?"

"Just lucky," I said.  Not true, of course.  I knew from measuring that I'd be within a couple inches of the spot.  And then I'd studied the ceiling — you learn how to interpret drywall, after a while, so you can almost see the joists in a finished surface, especially in a tract house.  A McMansion is basically a big tract. 

"Now would you hang a mirror in my bedroom?"

My screw hit the stud, first try.

"How'd you do that without using one of those stud-finding thingamajigs?"

"After a while, you get a feel for these things."

As the banker paid the bill, he gave me two bottles of white wine.  "You're a wall whisperer," he said. 

Sometimes you get praised for silly things.  I'll take it, though, and I won't worry until the walls start whispering back.


  1. Aren't the walls already whispering back?

  2. Ha. I guess I think of what I do more as reading the walls than listening to them. Come to think of it, the walls in my own house are doing more than whispering: they're clumping and skittering. There are animals in there, and they're driving me crazy.